Central Firefighters joined hundreds of first responders from around the county and state to train on how to properly respond to critical incidents such as an active shooter with mass casualties. The eight days of active shooter training in June took place at the Scotts Valley High School campus. UC Santa Cruz coordinated the training program and paired members from different agencies together each day for practice scenarios focused on the hypothetical first 15 to 20 minutes of a mass shooting. All participants also completed emergency medical training designed to deal with the most life-threatening injuries often encountered at mass violence events.
Community volunteers took part in role-playing scenarios as realistically made-up, injured shooting victims. The volunteers were given direction to act as though they were injured, pleading for help for their faux injuries and simulating the real-life distractions emergency responders must deal with when first entering a shooting scene.
This training is part of a continuum of training and planning conducted by law enforcement agencies and County fire departments for the past several years.
Central Fire’s Training & Safety Battalion Chief Chad Akin said the most significant benefit to the training is changing a culture of “us and them” between law and fire to one of collaboration.
“We do work together on a regular basis, but this is going to be such a mass-scale event, we’re going to be working with law enforcement from all over the area,” Chief Akin told the SC Sentinel. “So it’s really important that the communication, the expectations and the goals are all very clear to all parties involved.”
Thank you to the Santa Cruz County Critical Response Team, UCSC Police Department, CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and all the volunteers. While an active shooter is a call no one hopes to get, it is critical we are prepared.
Photos: SLV Steve - More photos of this drill are available for viewing on our Training Division page.